HOLY CROSS: A NEW CHURCH FOR THE CHARLOTTESVILLE AREA
BY THE REV'D BLAKE JOHNSON
MARCH 31ST, 2017
Situated to the west of Charlottesville is a place called Crozet. First a railroad town and then a sleepy bedroom community for Charlottesville, Crozet is now an officially designated growth area for Albemarle County. Charlottesville is most notably the home of Thomas Jefferson and the college he founded, the University of Virginia, but it has also become a center for startups and the biotech industry. It is a thriving place for artists and musicians, boasting a diverse restaurant scene and a proliferation of entertainment options. These and other factors have precipitated much growth in the last decade, largely concentrated in Western Albemarle County. Crozet, a picturesque village with beautiful farmlands at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is now managing a growing population and rapid development.
More than ten years ago, Randy and Mary Caldejon moved to the Charlottesville area from Northern Virginia and settled in Crozet. Having been deeply formed by the ministry of the Falls Church, they desired and prayed for a vibrant, gospel-centered Anglican church for their new community. In late 2015, with the encouragement of their friend, the Rev. Dan Claire, rector of Church of the Resurrection in Washington, D.C., the Caldejons decided to start regularly gathering friends and neighbors to explore the possibility of planting a new church. Dan encouraged them to gather around a cycle of events: parties, service projects, and Bible studies. In 2016, the Caldejons did just that, continuing to pray about the possibility of planting a new church in the Charlottesville area. At this time, the Church of the Incarnation began encouraging this work in coordination with the Diocese of Christ our Hope.
As word spread, a core group began to catch a vision for a new Anglican church in the area. In late 2016, Holy Cross started to search for a planter to lead the mission. I (Blake) accepted the call in November, and our family moved to the area in January. Not long after we moved, we started meeting with our initial team on Sundays for worship, a meal, and discussion. These gatherings have been energetic, encouraging, and growing as we cram as many as 50 folks into a living room. As we're outgrowing the living room, we're planning a more public launch on Easter at a newly constructed event barn that will serve as our worship home for the next season. Beyond Sunday worship, our mission has developed a serving relationship with Habitat for Humanity and is forming a partnership with a local refugee non-profit.
Holy Cross is made up of families, empty-nesters, newly-marrieds, and singles from Crozet, points west, and Charlottesville. Of note, almost a third of our initial team has been part of Anglican church plants in other cities. Such experience and teamwork is serving us well in this early stage.
Crozet needs more gospel-centered churches to keep pace with the growing population. More microbreweries and vineyards have been recently established in the area than gospel-centered churches! As church plants tend to do well with new residents, we believe that Crozet is ripe for this gospel venture. We desire to be a church that plants churches that plant churches. As the only ACNA work in Albemarle County, our vision is that as Holy Cross takes root, we will be a base for more church planting and mission in the Charlottesville area.